There’s a new sheriff in town. The sheriff of Nottingham that is, and by the sheriff of Nottingham, I more accurately mean Nottingham Tactical. You may or may not have heard of this manufacturing company which is based out of Hazlehurst, Mississippi; and in the case of the latter you soon will.
Lee Nottingham is at the helm of this modern day metal working shop and it was a pleasure to make his acquaintance at this year’s Blade Show. As I passed his rather unassuming shared booth, I found myself staring down at a production of rather fantastic looking fixed blades called the P6. At first glance my eyes were drawn to the high level of quality that the knife possessed. With the knife in the sheath I took hold of the corrugated G10 handle and for a moment admired the custom thermoformed kydex, which is a work of art in it of itself but I will get into more on that matter later.
Upon further examination of the Nottingham P6, I extended my compliments to Lee and got to asking some questions in order to know a bit more about the design itself and also about Lee and his machine shop’s capabilities. It turns out that Lee has been in the machine business for quite some time. He had worked extensively in the business for years, purchased his first CNC machine in 2007 and never looked back. Over the years Lee has grown his business and is capable of turning out products ranging from a ’33 Ford Grill die stamped from a single sheet of 20 gauge steel, custom billet tail lights, 45 ACP rounds turned from Chad Nichols Moku-TI or Stainless Steel Damascus, and he even has a Personal Defense Weapon currently in the works.
Also the Nottingham Tactical P6 had a story of its own. The ‘P’ for prototype, was not simply the brainchild of Lee Nottingham himself, but rather had taken shape over an extensive period of time as Lee had gathered input from everyone that he had access to in Law Enforcement and the Military. What started out as the P1 Lee used as a magnet for gathering input from these various professionals, while taking notes and making modifications along the way. Lee continued on with this process, creating prototype after prototype until he had designed a model that seemed to best fit the majority of the parameters that the knife required. It took five whole prototypes to do so before Lee was satisfied that the P6 would do most of what anyone could ask for in a Tactical knife.
Oddly, this was almost precisely what I had thought of the knife when I first held it. Without any direction in regards to the designs intent, I usually ask myself what the knife seems like it would be good for, or best at. At first glance, the Nottingham Tactical P6 brought to mind Tactical application, but upon further examination I thought of field craft or dressing a deer. Not that I thought the knife was better suited for one use as opposed to the other, but I believed that it could perform either functions equally well. This was an impressive accomplishment and, naturally, I had to have one.
I was really thrilled by the P6 and walked around the Blade Show with it on my belt for the remainder of the show. When I returned to the hotel on the first night, I walked past a mirror and was cursing myself for not doing something about my facial hair before flying to Atlanta. I tossed my pack on the bed and gave myself a look in the bathroom mirror. In my reflection I saw the P6 on my belt. I drew the blade from the Kydex sheath and took a pass with it over my neck–YIKES!
I had expected to pop some hairs with the P6 for certain but all that remained was a clean shaven swath on my neck. I might have cursed out loud to be honest because I was supposed to have turned right around from the hotel and head out the door for dinner. The hair on my neck now looked laughable so I had to do something about it. I was pressed for time so I didn’t bother with lathering up some soap; instead I shaved my entire neck dry. Honestly, I don’t think I could have done better with my Dovo straight razor back home. So, a note to all you perspective buyers out there, if something about this knife tells you to shave with it, you had better damn well know what you are doing because the Nottingham Tactical P6 is razor sharp.
I mentioned earlier that I was going to talk about the sheath and I did so deliberately because seldom is a knife sheath worthy of more than an side note in my reviews. However, the sheath and the knife are part of a very important system and they have an inseparable relationship as far as a fixed blade knife is concerned. It is nonsensical to carry a knife that does not offer an exceptional combination of the two, given its purpose. The first purpose of the Nottingham Tactical P6 is Tactical application. If a knife is to be suitable for both Law Enforcement and Military persons it must have a sheath built to match the demands of both professions. For instance, it must provide ample retention combined with ready accessibility. The sheath system of the Nottingham P6 is truly remarkable in this regards.
In my enthusiasm I might have used the words “over built” to describe the sheath to a number of people who I have shown the knife but I would like to correct myself in this assessment and instead call it rugged and purpose built. I know that might sound less enthusiastic but I really do mean it as the highest possible compliment. The sheath is built rugged, only “over built” in comparison to many sheaths that I have no better words for than “run of the mill.” But when I say purpose built, I mean something more than built to suit; I explicitly mean that the end result is perhaps perfectly suitable for its intended purpose, which is Tactical application. Furthermore, I know that a lot of time and energy went into achieving this result and I appreciate that greatly. It is not some manner of accident when you achieve a hard locking kydex sheath with a good solid pop on the draw with adjustable retention. In the long run you are going to have to see it to believe it. But, with any luck, you heard it here first!
I feel like I haven’t really mentioned that the P6 is also a very damn nice looking knife. It is well worth saying so explicitly. The drop point blade is etched to a gorgeous finish. The G10 handles are shadowboxed ever so slightly; the sheath is of course excellent and market NT in a classy manner.
The Nottingham P6 really is an all around package that I would give top marks for design, configuration and construction. The Nottingham Tactical P6 will be right at home in the hands of a Tactical operator, survivalist, hunter and the everyday Joe who appreciates a great knife.
The Bottom Line
I have to close by saying that the Nottingham Tactical P6 just seems like the sort of knife that everyone needs. Since I acquired the P6, it has passed through many hands, each set of hands comes with its own way of thinking; its own perception and agenda in regards to use. Everyone who has examined the knife has found it most suitable for their own unique purpose.
At the time of publishing this review Lee Nottingham was in the process of getting his website up and running after an unsavory run in with a web design, web hosting company. I have been there myself and it is unpleasant business. Currently, you can find Nottingham Tactical on Facebook and just as soon as his website is up and running I will be publishing a link. In the mean while, Like his Facebook page and get in touch with Lee to get your hands on the Nottingham Tactical P6.